November 2 is Election Day.
On November 3, 2004, a new movement must begin, regardless
of that election’s outcome.
If Bush emerges triumphant the reasons for opposing his regime
are obvious. His agenda is so horrific that opposition is a necessity.
America must be saved from corporate corruption, a loss of individual
rights, and unending war that threatens the entire world.
Of course the painful situation we find ourselves
in makes the possibility of a Kerry defeat unthinkable. It would
be the worst
electoral defeat of a Democrat presidential candidate in modern
political history. It would be worse than the Gore defeat of 2000,
worse than the landslides that sent George McGovern and Walter
Mondale packing. If a president who cheated his way into the White
House, presided over the loss of one million jobs, and made war
based on lies isn’t defeated, the recriminations and blood letting
must be immediate, public, and uncompromising.
There should be no talk of being positive and unified when the
Democratic party is in shambles. The clumsiness of John Kerry on
the campaign trial is not only a reflection of Kerry the man, but
of the dysfunction promoted by the hapless Democratic National
Committee and the Democratic Leadership Conference. The only outcome
worse than a Kerry defeat, would be continued deference to the
people who made it happen.
The party leadership, including the deified Bill Clinton, must
be exposed by this movement as the architects of a disaster. Democrats
who stood up to Bush when their leaders took a dive must liberate
themselves from the belief that the people who have run their party
into the ground know more than they do or are deserving of any
Hard truths must be discussed if George W. Bush stands on the
steps of Congress with his hand on a bible in January. One of the
hardest truths is the fact that the corporate media is the enemy
of the Democratic party. Never again should a front runner be dethroned
because selective television editing makes it appear that he screamed
too loudly. The bloodless assassination of Howard Dean came about
through an unholy alliance between the corporate media and Democratic
big wigs and was the beginning of the Democrats ignominious slide
The biases of the corporate media are obvious and present the
biggest obstacle to the election of a Democrat to the presidency.
On November 3rd Democrats must begin saying loudly and
unequivocally that the media are biased. The television networks
no longer have even a pretense of objectivity. The talking heads
of television news made hay out of the Dan Rather document fiasco,
but refused to do even minimum reporting on the same
story that was first told during the 2000 campaign. It was
proven then that George W. Bush was missing from both his Texas
and Alabama Air National Guard units for over a year. The young
George W. Bush made no bones about his privileged treatment. In
fact he bragged to
one of his professors at Harvard business school that his father’s
connections helped him to party stateside instead of in the Mekong
delta. Dan Rather could have saved himself a lot of trouble with
some good old fashioned reporting.
Progressives must begin a new movement on November 3rd even if
the unlikely but still hoped for Kerry victory becomes a reality.
The Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Leadership
Conference will crow that their dubious strategies were in fact
brilliant. Their claims should not go unchallenged.
The listless Democratic National Convention
was a waste of precious time. An undecided voter was either still
undecided or a Bush supporter
after the Democrats used up four days of television time without
coherently and pointedly telling viewers why they shouldn’t vote
for Bush. Even if Kerry manages to overcome this lost opportunity,
he should not be allowed to forget that going on endlessly about
swift boats was not very swift.
In short, progressive Democrats must remain
visible and vocal in a Kerry administration. We cannot fall victim
to the argument
that our criticism should be muted because Kerry is better than
Bush. The expression “damning with faint praise” comes to mind.
How hard is it to be better than a fascist? That dubious distinction
forces the painful
vote for Kerry, but it shouldn’t keep anyone from speaking
up if Kerry forgets who put him in office.
President Kerry should face thousands of demonstrators if he continues
the disastrous occupation of Iraq and the take over of Haiti. If
Worker March must take place under his administration then
so be it. If President Kerry doesn’t defend affirmative active
or the social security system he should realize that there will
be a price for him to pay when he needs support from his own party.
Kerry should not think for one moment that
he can bring back the days of slick Willie and his triangulations.
Democrats have already
seen that movie and know the bad ending all too well. As the song
says, we won’t get fooled again. On November 3rd, no
matter how the headline reads, there will be a movement for change.
The remaking of the Democratic party will have begun and the change
will be for the better.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column
appears weekly in Ms.
Kimberley is a freelance writer living in New York City. She
can be reached via e-Mail at [email protected]. You can read more
of Ms. Kimberley's writings at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com/